by Stephen Tall on April 14, 2014
Peter Kellner today assesses the lie of the polling land – and concludes it’s looking good for the Conservatives. This in spite of the fact they still trail Labour by around 5% in most polls. Why? He lists 5 fundamentals which favour David Cameron:
1) The economy is improving – and voters are noticing. A year ago, 74% said economy was in a bad state; just 4% said it was good. Today, just 43% say ‘bad’, while 22% say ‘good’. Add in the 32% who say ‘neither good nor bad’ (up from 19% a year ago) and 54% think Britain is no longer in the mire – a sharp contrast from 23% a year ago.
2) This time last year, the verdict on the coalition’s handling of the economy was a terrible minus 35 (28% said ‘well’, 63% ‘badly’). Now, the gap has closed to just minus six – 42% well, 48% badly.
3) A year ago, Labour and Conservative were running neck-and-neck on which of them would be better at running the economy. The Tories have now opened up an 11-point lead.
4) Although Cameron’s personal rating has slipped in the past few days, from minus nine to minus 16 (38% say he is doing well, 54% badly), he is still ahead of where he was a year ago – and well ahead of both Ed Miliband (minus 26) and Nick Clegg (minus 51).
5) Cameron also leads Miliband head-to-head when people are asked who would make the best Prime Minister; our latest figures put the Tory leader 16 points ahead, 36-20%.
These findings lead him to a stark conclusion:
I can find no example of a party losing an election when it is ahead on both leadership and economic competence. If Britain’s recovery is sustained (especially if living standards start to improve) and Cameron is able to maintain his lead over Miliband, then we are likely to see a swing back from Labour to Conservative over the next 12 months – as we have every time in the past half century that a Conservative Prime Minister has led his or her party into a general election.
At which point I wheel out my not-at-all-scientific polynomial polling trendline suggesting the Tories are on course for a 6% lead by May 2015. When I first published it last year, I said it was just a bit of fun. It’s starting to look serious…